Samoëns and the Grand Massif is widely known for being a winter paradise, but the resort is also one of the best destinations in the French Alps for summer holidays. In fact, during July and August when the summer season is at its peak, it’s rare to meet a visitor to the region who doesn’t wish they could stay longer. It’s no wonder – with average weather that matches your standard beach holiday, breath-taking scenery and a whole host of activities to enjoy, Samoëns and the surrounding villages of the Giffre valley are the place to be in summer.
Samoëns, Morillon and Sixt really are ideal destinations for the perfect summer holiday. The days are long and warm, with average temperatures from May through to September ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. After even the hottest days – it’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach above 30 degrees – the evenings are generally cool, so getting a comfortable night’s sleep in a summer chalet should not be a problem. The warmer weather brings with it a life and energy different to that of the winter season. The streets of Samoëns in particular are a hive of activity. Stroll through Samoëns’ beautiful, medieval centre and experience firsthand its buzzing atmosphere. Duck in to one of the numerous specialty shops and get chatting with the locals, or enjoy a refreshing drink and light lunch on the sunny terrace of one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants, all the while soaking up the sights and sounds of summertime village life.
Family fun for everyone
During the summer months Samoëns, Morillon and Sixt play host to a variety of outdoor music events, festivals, and fireworks displays. Spend a mild, summer’s night dancing away to live music at one of ‘Les Pepites’ free outdoor concerts in Samoëns. Definitely don’t miss the concerts by the lake at Bois Aux Dames Samoens, which by day is a thriving recreational facility. Next to the lakes of Samoens, there are plenty of tennis courts (lower season book via the Tourist Office), archery, golf driving range into the lake, pony rides, inflatable jump bag, table tennis and more! The annual ‘Y’a l’Feu au Lac’ (Fireworks and lighting display by the lake) is one event not to be missed in Morillon. An afternoon spent on the banks of Lac Bleu easily becomes an entire evening as you while away the hours at this spectacle of music, dance and light.
Any day of the week at Lac Bleu in Morillon is a day well spent. Take a dip in the lake under the watchful eye of qualified lifeguards, test your tree climbing skills in the high ropes course or why not hit the trampolines or bouncy castle? The ‘Fete Nationale’ is always great fun too with fabulous fireworks displays throughout the valley. Then of course there’s the annual American Festival, or International Stone Mason’s Symposium, not to mention the region’s biggest outdoor market held in Samoëns every Wednesday. Thanks to the support of the community-focused, local council and Giffre Valley tourist offices there is no shortage of entertainment for all the family.
Samoens swimming pool Samoens has a wonderful large open air swimming park located 10 minutes walk from the centre, situated next to the lakes. With a 60m slide into the plunge pool, a 25m swimming pool with swimming lanes, a medium sized pool, and a baby pool with a mini slide, there is certainly enjoyment for all the family. It is set in 6000m2 of immaculately kept lawns, enabling you to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery. There is a shaded picnic area, plus you can lay out your picnic in the grounds, or you may simply chose to go the swimming pool cafe/restaurant. Here you can also enjoy an area designated for ball games. The opening times for the swimming pool in Samoens are normally daily from 10am until 7.15pm June to September. Prices are around 3.90 Euros per child and 4.90 Euros per adult. Up to date information about opening times, photos and pricing can be found here.
La Centre Loisirs La Marmotte in Samoëns also offers families the possibility of signing their kids up to organised activity days during the school holidays. Inscriptions are limited so this is definitely something to arrange ahead of time if possible. Please also note this service is mostly offered for local children, so would be mostly French speaking. For more information, checkout their website.
Outdoor adventure playground
While very much a family-friendly resort, the Grand Massif also caters to the dedicated outdoor and sports enthusiast. The Giffre valley is in fact quite the adventure playground in the summer, perhaps even more so than during winter. You can enjoy everything from swimming, hiking, mountain biking and road biking, to climbing, white-water rafting, hot-air ballooning and paragliding. The region really does offer it all! For more detailed information on a number of activities available here in the Grand Massif be sure to check out our Additional Activities.
A highlight of any holiday in the Grand Massif is most definitely a trip to the Cirque du Fer a Cheval, situated just ten minutes’ drive from the gorgeous village of Sixt (or a 15 minute cycle on one of the new battery powered bikes available in most of the bike hire shops in Samoens – lots of fun!). At certain times in the season up to 30 waterfalls can be seen tumbling down the 2000m high cliffs in this spectacular nature reserve, which offers a range of hiking for all ages and abilities. Be it a gentle, flat circuit along the valley floor, a steep ascent to a refuge with breathtaking views over the entire Cirque, or a multi-day hike to a glacier, the Cirque offers something for everyone. There are of course a number of other great hiking locations in the valley. For more information, take a look at our Walking page.
Active families will adore Samoëns and the surrounding area. The summer season is all about outdoor sports and the choice of activities is vast. Alps Accommodation partners with the ‘one stop shop’ mountain activity experts at ZigZag, who provide a hearty menu of alpine adventure with something for all ages and levels of intrepidity. Whether you’re already booked or are still considering the area as a summer holiday destination, we’ve collected some great local advice from the experts at ZigZag - check out the article.
Outdoor adventure activities include canyoning, rafting, parapenting, rock climbing, Via Ferrata, caving, horse riding, pack donkeys and more, with options for children as young as 4 years of age. To book or enquire, contact Louise (who is native English speaking) at the ZigZag office on +33 (0)6 31 20 44 10 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, otherwise pop past to see Louise in person at the ZigZag office at 126 Grande Rue, in the centre of Samoëns. Samoëns’ Bureau des Guides also proposes daily activities and multi-activity weeks which you can book via their office, which is next to the Tourist Office, or for via their website. Most activities are for kids from 7 years and of course adults, but they do run climbing sessions for kids from 5 years of age.
Biking is another favourite summer activity and visitors to the Grand Massif will not be disappointed by what’s on offer. For road biking fans there are some world class routes to choose from, including the famous Col de Joux Plane. The Col de Joux Plane has already featured in 11 Tour de France races, and in summer 2016 it will make its 12th appearance in the world class event. Regarded by some as the toughest road bike climb in the Haute Savoie, the Col de Joux Plane has been the scene of some dramatic events in Tour de France history. For all the road-bikers out there - this is definitely one to conquer! For more information about road biking in the area check out our Road Biking in the Grand Massif page.
Samoëns is also renowned for its world class mountain-biking terrain. Possibly the greatest credit to the quality of mountain-bike riding on offer here is the success of the 2015 Enduro World Series event. July 2015 saw Samoëns play host to 350 competitors, including some of the world’s most elite riders, for stage 4 of the international event (you can read all about it in our blog). Samoëns has also hosted the French Enduro Cup for three consecutive years, an event that returns to the valley for a fourth time in summer 2016. The bulk of the mountain-biking terrain is accessed from Samoëns 1600, which is an 8-minute gondola ride from Samoëns in the Grand Massif Express. Lift operating times are weather dependent and do follow a strict schedule so be sure to check the information below. More information on our Mountain Biking in Samoens page.
Visit the special Events Page to find out the special events which are happening in Samoens, Morillon and the local area this spring, summer and autumn.
NEW for Summer 2018, the Grand Massif Express (GME) is open everyday from mid-June until the end of August. A short, 8-minute ride from the village of Samoëns, the GME gives access to the mountain biking and walking trails at Samoëns 1600 as well as fantastic views! Prices (updated 2018) are from 7€ return for adults, 20€ for a day (unlimited use in entire Grand Massif), and 70€ for 15 round trips in Morillon or Samoëns. A Grand Massif seasonal pass is also available for 90€.
The Chariande Express is also open throughout July and August, providing a quick and scenic link to the Tete de Saix and vast Grand Massif trail network.
Opening Dates, Summer 2018
Samoens - GME: Open daily, 16/06/2018 => 31/08/2018 Samoens - Chariande Express: Open Mon - Thurs, 09/07/2018 => 31/08/2018 Morillon: Open daily, 07/07/2018 => 31/08/2018 Carroz: Open daily, 30/06/2018 => 02/09/2018 (pre-season opening weekend 23-24/06/2018) Flaine: Open daily, 07/07/2018 => 31/08/2018
For the most detailed and up to date information on lift opening times please visit the Grand Massif website. If you are planning to holiday outside these times, when the lifts are not open, there are numerous trails for walking and biking all accessible from the village. With so many activities in and around the centre, river and the lakes, you don't need to rely on using the lifts at all to have an amazing activity holiday.
Still not sure about summer in the Alps? Watch our 'Summer in Samoëns' video for a small taste of what awaits!
Once you are convinced a summer alpine holiday is for you, be sure to have a look through our portfolio of excellent summer chalets.
By booking through Alps Accommodation you’ll also be eligible for a number of savings and in-resort discounts. Check out our Family Savings page, which details how much our guests can save by staying with us during the summer.
"Big thanks for an ace stay! The chalet was beautiful and very welcoming on a return from the slopes each day. Tim (the property manager) was great at answering any questions and the 20% discount on the ski passes was a real bonus! We will definitely return, hopefully with a few more in the group next time!" Giles Family, Apartment Bois de Lune 3, January 2019
"This is our second stay here (Chalet L'Orlaya), this time a winter visit. Fantastic skiing and beautiful walks. We love this area and are looking forward to returning again in the Spring." Parker Family, No. 1 Chalet L'Orlaya, January 2019
"Another lovely stay in your wonderful chalet. Samoens is magical at Christmas time. Being here is like home from home, we've all had a great time skiing, hot tubbing, eating and drinking, and playing games! Quality family time! Thank you again, and hope to be back soon - maybe summer next time, for a change!" The Addison Family, Apartment Biollet, Christmas 2018
"The accommodation was perfect for our requirements and is situated in a idyllic yet central location. The welcome basket was very much appreciated, and the property managers extremely helpful, responding quickly to any queries. Thank you for such a lovely holiday, we hope to visit again and would definitely recommend." Parkes family, Chalet Toubkal, August 2018
''This is the third time we've booked with Alps Accommodation, and it is becoming better and better. There was a catering service on arrival, key delivery on time, right information about village, slopes and so on. We will book again!'' Vermeulen family, Chalet Eglantine, March 2018
"The availability of information, the booking process which was quick, friendly and was given useful responses to emails and of course the quality of the property are a credit to Alps Accommodation. They all contributed to our enjoyment of a week in Samoens village.'' Martin family, Bois de Lune 2, March 2018
"We stayed at Chalet Taylor which was recently renovated, everything was fabulous; the chalet, the location, hot tub, fireplace, kitchen, beds, nothing to complain! We are a family of four including two young kids, and prefer to spend Christmas holidays in either Samoens or Morillon. We always use Alps Accommodation's services, it is always great!"Ozsunar Family, Chalet Taylor, Christmas 2018
''This is the 3rd time we have booked using your company and always feel secure in the knowledge we have a backup help if any problems arise. We have been coming to samoens/Morillon area for 6 years and still love it.'' Caldwell family, Chardons Argentes MGM 4 bed, February 2018
"Fantastic room, hospitality and food. I've tried hundreds of chalets and here is about the best!" John Hill, Editor, The Good Ski Guide, Chalet Moccand.